" Bankai, Senbonzakura Kageyoshi ," Byakuya muttered as the notorious rows of long blade appeared on the ground beside him.

" Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu !" Ichigo yelled as he too launched into bankai mode. However, instead of being black, the long blade was now white. Ichigo then moved viciously towards Byakuya with frightening speed.

" Getsuga Tenshou…" Ichigo whispered. A huge, black crescent sliced through the air towards Byakuya. As Byakuya attempted to deftly flash backwards, he realized in horror, that Ichigo was already behind him. The last thing he heard was a soft murmuring of " Getsuga Tenshou" before ominous red reiatsu---tinged with red---engulfed him completely.

" What's the matter, Kuchiki Byakuya ?!". " Can't measure up to a lowly ryoka such as myself ?" Ichigo quoted.

" You do realize that I'm holding back, no?" " If I so much as yell out loud Getsuga Tenshou, you're a goner."

" No matter…I'm going to have to finish this battle right away."

Byakuya---panting heavily for breath---eyes widened considerably when Ichigo let out a series of high-pitched maniacal laughter as he swung the huge cleaver Zangetsu by its wrappings, and thrusted it forward with god-like speed.

The sword pierced through Byakuya's left shoulder.

" Payback for last time." Ichigo told him gleefully, revenge glittering in his cold eyes.

Byakuya, with his world famous self control, managed not to cry out loud as he felt a huge stab of pain in his left shoulder blade. He felt drained as fresh, crimson blood literally poured out of his shoulder. He tried his best to compose his features whilst his brain slowly processed Ichigo's words.

He paused in his tracks.

Did the boy remember? During their fight at Soukyoku hill, he had used his kidou to punch a hole in the orange-haired substitute shinigami's shoulder blade.

" Hmm…Looks like he still bears a grudge against me over that incident." Byakuya mused.

But if Aizen had erased the boy's memories completely to turn him into a mindless minion, then how could that particular memory have been retained? It seems that the boy's body was remembering without conscious thought.

Looks like there was still hope.

" Kurosaki Ichigo." Byakuya called out. " I know you're in there somewhere. Fight him, boy. I know your will is strong. You have proven that fact to me from time to time. Resist him."

" What the hell, Byakuya ? !!!! I'm Kurosaki Ichigo ! What are you babbling about !" Ichigo retorted fiercely, baffled by the strange turn of events. After all, it was not often that whilst in the middle of a life-and-death battle that your enemy declared you're not you, and somehow call your name, asking you to resist yourself. The idea was pathetically ludicrous.

Perhaps my getsuga tenshou hit him on the head?Ichigo thought inwardly.

" Besides, what got your panties in a bunch ?" Ichigo asked mockingly.

" I'm not talking to you. I'm talking to Kurosaki Ichigo." Byakuya rebutted sharply.

Furious was an understatement to describe what Ichigo was feeling right at that very moment. He was ENRAGED, to say the least. Ichigo wanted to fly into a rage, wanted so badly to beat the crap out of the girly, flower-powered taichou, but he restrained himself most admirably.

" I AM KUROSAKI ICHIGO !!!" Ichigo spat menacingly. Honestly, what was the world coming to? I can't believe that I'm engaged in a hot argument with my ENEMY on whether I'm me or not.

" No, you are not. The Kurosaki Ichigo I know would never side with the traitors." Byakuya insisted stubbornly.

" ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND !!!" Ichigo finally lost it and yelled, " I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS! For the last fucking time, I AM KUROSAKI ICHIGO !"

" Besides, I am one of Aizen-sama's top Espada," Ichigo added proudly.

Ichigo had enough of Byakuya's 'nonsense'. He released one tenth of the enormous reiatsu that he had been holding back all along, and prepared to deal Byakuya the finishing blow.

Byakuya gasped. The boy truly had been holding back. The dark black reiatsu that he had been emitting previously was nothing compared to now. Byakuya had difficulties breathing normally, and even standing upright. Certainly, the heavy injuries he had sustained whilst facing off aginst Ichigo's getsuga tenshou was not helping.

If that was the level of Espada Numero, then Byakuya shuddered to think how Soul Society was going to defeat Aizen Sousuke and his little 'gang'.

Without hesitation, Ichigo struck Byakuya down.



" Hurry renji! We might not catch him." Rukia urged Renji, who was trying to keep up with the raven-haired shinigami, as they shunpoed over rooftops.

" This reiatsu…."

Even though it had a dark, evil Arrancar tinge to it, it was unmistakeable.

" Ichigo…" Rukia whispered worriedly.

" I hope we're not too late."


Hey guys ! :P

Gab here. Whew chapter 7 is finally up. I hope this was better than the last chapter. I was kinda spurred on to write the last chapter the way I did because of some war movie i had watched, where the hero changed sides. :(

Anyway, Ichigo and Aizen's relationship is STRICTLY PROFESSIONAL. Srry if I had suggested otherwise. :)

Hope you enjoy my work !